Binge eating disorder development happens so slowly that often times we wonder how exactly our lives got to their current state. I always felt as though my eating disorder appeared out of nowhere, like it just showed up one day without any warning. Truth is that eating disorders are progressive illnesses. They do not just magically appear one day when we wake up. This disease goes through many phases before it takes us over, usually going unnoticed until it is making our lives miserable. If we understand binge eating disorder development in our recovery, we can keep the illness from showing up again.
The Development of Binge Eating Disorder
For many of us, we have probably had issues with food and body for as long as we can remember. However, we did not always have what is considered to be a full-blown eating disorder–that takes time.
Before the disorder, we felt miserable. We did not see ourselves as normal. We were constantly dissatisfied with our lives. One day our binging behavior began. At this time we were filled with a sense of relief from our binges. This behavior became a way to cope with everything thrown at us that was seemingly too hard to handle. We were not concerned about this behavior because there was a reasonable amount of time between binges and we felt as though we were still in control.
Over time, this behavior happened more frequently and it took larger binges to bring the relief we once experienced. We began to focus more and more on food and less on life. Thoughts became consumed with plans of what we were going to binge on and where. This is when we started to feel like there was no choice but to act on our binging urges.
We continued to binge because at one point in time these behaviors worked for us. They brought us calm from our anxiety and numbness from our pain. We hoped that one day this relief would return but became frustrated when we were just left feeling worse than before these behaviors began.
Becoming Aware of the Eating Disorder Development and Progression
Though we may be far down the eating disorder progression, it does not mean we should stop being aware of what is going on. Once we begin the recovery process, we need to know what our different warning signs of slips are.
For me, when I begin to feel down, isolate myself, or restrict my food intake, I am undoubtedly setting myself up for a binge. However, now that I know this, I am able to stop behaviors before they begin. For example, when I see myself pulling away from others, I work hard to keep being social a priority.
Realizing that our eating disorder did not come out of nowhere is important when working towards wellness. When we trace the journey of our behaviors, we gain essential insight into what we need to pay attention to in order to not fall back into old habits.
For more on eating disorder progression, watch this.